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Headstart is a three day long initiative, available to students who meet a predefined criteria, to help support them with their transition into university.

HeadStart takes place the week before Welcome Week to provide students with an introduction to the academic study skills required to succeed at university. The initiative also provides an overview of the services available at Brunel so new students can feel supported when they begin their studies. The Academic Skills team run the study skills sessions based on colleges for a more personalised outlook on what lies ahead for the rest of their academic year. 

To help you feel even more supported, you will be guided through the 3 days by HeadStart Ambassadors. HeadStart Ambassadors are current students who have experiences they can share with you to help you with your transition into university. 

HeadStart helps students to:
  • Understand and start to develop their own independent academic study skills – a key component of university success
  • Learn more about university life, for both personal and academic needs
  • Meet other students and peers virtually
  • Gain a clear insight into the level of work expected at university and the study skills support available
Examples of sessions during HeadStart
  • Assignments: How do I get started? (Academic Skills Team)
  • Understanding Timetabling (Digital Education Team and Timetabling Team)
  • How can I Make Use of my Lectures? Reading and Notetaking. (Academic Skills Team)
  • Maths and Statistics SOS (Academic Skills Team)
  • Introduction to Student Wellbeing (Wellbeing Team)

You can view our HeadStart flyer here.

What to expect from university 

Skills for University
Studying at university will require you to develop your academic skills, from learning how to be self-motivated and work independently, to learning how to process complex information and write in an academic style. Throughout Headstart you will attend workshops that will help develop these skills.

Independent Learning
You are responsible for your success at university, and much of that depends on how you use your spare time. This is often the biggest challenge students face when they look at their timetable and realise that there is a lot of space for independent study. Some people find it useful to form study groups – this makes your learning social and helps keep you accountable. It is also important to keep on top of your time management and learn to understand feedback that is given.

The Peer-Assisted Learning Initiative (PAL) is also a great support mechanism which focuses on peer-to-peer learning to support you as you further develop your independent learning. For more information on this please visit the PAL page (click here for information)

Wider Scope
You will be asked to delve into much greater detail with your study topics, and you will need to think in new ways and make connections across ideas and theories in your field. Tutors will expect more sophisticated academic writing, and your essays will have higher word counts. Also, you will find that you are given different types of assignments, such as group work or presentations. For the most part, the transition will be gradual and one you are more than capable of taking on.

It is called ‘reading for a degree’ for a reason, because on most courses you will be given a reading list setting out essential and recommended books and journal articles. Familiarise yourself with the Library and catalogue early so that you can easily find the information you need. You will be expected to read critically, meaning that you should question what you read and not take everything at face value.

You will encounter many new terms and abbreviations in your first weeks.

Greater Flexibility
You will have many more choices to make at university, from the modules you take to assignment titles for your coursework. This is empowering, but it can also be overwhelming, so it is important that you think carefully about the choices you make and talk them over with others – your family, friends, and tutors.


Partnering with Transition Week

As a HeadStarter and Brunel student you are automatically part of Transition Week. This year we have organised the schedule to enable you to attend the afternoon talks on student life sessions. The study skills sessions offered in HeadStart will cover those offered in Transition Week and more from dedicated Academic Skills professionals. 

After your three days with us in HeadStart we would encourage you and your new friends to continue on to join the wider cohort for the Thursday and Friday activities available in Transition Week.